Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has overruled the President of South Africa by amending regulations, under the Disaster Management Act.
Notably – this is not the first time Dlamini-Zuma has overridden the President. During lockdown, she banned tobacco sales after President Ramaphosa initially said that cigarette sales would be allowed.
The amendments include moving the curfew to 9pm, for restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, theatres, museums, and “any other place where a gathering may take place”:
DA Shadow Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Dean Macpherson MP, made the following statement
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) has found out that once again, Minister Dlamini-Zuma has decided to overrule President Ramaphosa through the latest amended regulations published on the 17th of December 2020.
This time, Minster Dlamini-Zuma has unilaterally decided to change the closing time for restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas, theatres and museums from 10pm to 9pm.
On the 14th of December 2020 in his “Address to the Nation”, President Ramaphosa said, “The hours of the curfew will be longer, starting at 11pm and ending at 4am. Non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will have to close at 10pm so that staff and patrons can get home before the enforcement of the curfew”.
On the 17th of December 2020, Minister Dlamini-Zuma published the regulations that stated in fact this has been brought forward to 9pm.
This of course is not the first time that Minister Dlaimini-Zuma has contradicted the President, the u-turn on tobacco sales during the lockdown being the most famous.
When the President speaks, his word should be final. It should not be allowed that a Minister can advance their own agendas through regulations as we have seen time and again.
That is why I have written to Dlamini-Zuma and the President requesting an urgent answer as to why the closing time has been altered in this caviller manner and, hopefully have it amended back to 10pm.
Establishments like restaurants need every hour they possibly can get to make up for the hard and brutal lockdown that they have been subjected to this year.
However, the big question that remains unanswered is, why does President Ramaphosa continually allow for Minister Dlaimini-Zuma to get away with this delinquent behaviour at his expense?”